The £105m player has given Mikel Arteta’s side added steel in midfield and has left a hole his former club are struggling to fill

Declan Rice’s worth to Arsenal is already obvious. The price was steep, West Ham fetching £105m for a player they got for nothing, but Rice is value for money. Arsenal, who crumbled under the pressure of trying to beat Manchester City to the title last season, needed the midfielder’s resilience. When they were holding on to a slender advantage against Sevilla last week, they were grateful that Rice was there to sense danger and stamp it out.

There was none of the flimsiness that has held back Mikel Arteta’s side in the past. Arsenal have become sturdier since signing Rice. He was crucial to their recent win against City, making an early goalline clearance before repeatedly snuffing out promising attacks, and has given the team more structure and authority. Arteta, who likens Rice to a lighthouse because of how he makes his teammates shine, knew what he was doing when he began wooing the England international last year.

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